My word of the day for #CabernetDay is Voicing.
We’ve discussed the literary concept of VOICE as it applies to wine …
To find one’s voice is perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing any author. We hear it in their own writings on the subject, we hear it in writer’s groups, we hear it in MFA programs. Find your voice. Find your voice. Find your voice. Poets weep throughout the journey, typewriters fly through the shattered windows of frustrated playwrights, novelists fall silent for decades at a time. All in pursuit of the voice.
That Ridge Vineyards found its voice so early on, and that this voice still rings so vividly and so clearly today, is to me living and delicious proof that wine can indeed attain the level of art.
When wine is made by the right people, in the right places, in the right ways, wine finds its voice.
And we listen. And we drink. And we are thankful. For Paul Draper, for James Joyce, for Miles Davis, for Ridge Vineyards.
But today, it’s not VOICE but VOICINGS that I’m pondering.
When a jazz pianist, guitarist, or arranger sees a chord symbol while providing accompaniment, he rarely plays the chord in its raw form – the form described in the chapter on harmony. That is, he rarely plays a simple stack of thirds.
Instead, a musician tries to choose a combination of notes that conveys the sound of the chord while providing a pleasing distribution of notes within the chord and while maintaining good voice leading between chords. The resultant combination of notes may contain non-chord tones, and it may arrange the notes in ways you would not otherwise have expected. —A Jazz Improvisation Almanac)
Meaning; a VOICING is a unique “stacking” of notes that lends a singular character to an otherwise conventional structure. It is by virtue of voicing that a musician creates an individuated character; anyone can play a C7 chord, but a C7 chord can be voiced in many different ways. How you voice the chord is how you give the chord its soul.
To carry the metaphor over to wine, the theory runs that anyone can make a Cabernet Sauvignon, but a Cabernet Sauvingon can be “voiced” in many different ways. Meaning; it’s the arrangement (stacking) of components (notes) that make a wine unique, that give it its soul. This is why we love multi-tiered complexities in fine wine, because they afford the winemaker exponentially greater opportunities for unique voicings.
And when you talk about voicing, particularly in jazz, there is no greater composer than Duke Ellington. Which is why I wrote that Monte Bello is the Duke Ellington of wine …
Cabernet is a nighttime grape; Cabernet Nocturne. And Monte Bello is the Duke Ellington of Cabernet. It is the nighttime feeling, the sensuality and mystery of light and shadow’s balletically intertwined eroticism, the invitation of the evening. It swings its melancholy, dances its blues, finesses its crescendo. It sees no age, no color, no creed; it merely assumes elegance, and expects the same.
So today, for #CabernetDay, we’ll be drinking Monte Bello, listening to Duke Ellington, and thinking about VOICING.
Voicing. The word of the day for #CabernetDay.